5 Questions a Social Media Consultant Should Ask a Client

Mark Paddock
Mark Paddock Social Media Marketing Consultant and Trainer, Get Pro Social

Posted on October 13th 2011

When consulting on a company's Social Media presence, we must first ask some questions of the company itself. Here are the 5 most important questions a Social Media Consultant should ask a client to deliver the best possible service. 

1. What does the company want to achieve from their Social Media activity? 

Are they looking to increase sales, improve customer services, save money on customer engagement, create an outpost for customers to converse, break in to new markets etc. The objective must first be established so the Social Media Consultant can create a road map to get there.

 

2. What has the company done up to now?

Do they have an established online community already? Do they have a Facebook with a significant number of fan? Do they have targeted Twitter followers? Do they have a LinkedIn company page and employees active on LinkedIn? Have they actually tried out any Social Media campaigns ir marketing?

 

3.Where are their customers?

For example I recently provided Social Media consultancy to a large Law firm. They confirmed that all the fee earners of the business had LinkedIn profiles and where active in LinkedIn Groups. I then asked “ Are you in the right LinkedIn Groups?” to which the reply” Yes, of course! We are in X Legal Group and Y Legal Group etc” I then asked  if they could sell their services to people in these groups to which the answer was catagorically “No”. I asked who the firms top clients were and they told me the majority of the income comes from  3 large commercial property companies. So why are the fee earners for this company not taking part in LinkedIn Groups full of commercial property professionals so they can demonstrate their expertise and success in dealing with commercial property law?

Are you dealing with a B2B client or a B2C client? Are there potential customers going to be in Linkedin or in Facebook. Its a good idea to create 2 or 3 “avatars” (fictional profiles of potential customer in different demographics) and analyse with the client how we could engage with these people using Social Media Platforms. Sometimes Social Media Consulting is made so easy by companies who just don't understand the capabilities of Social Media Tools.

 

4. What Social Media strategies are working or have worked for their competitors or other businesses in the same industry?

Its a good idea to do some research on successful campaigns or strategies implemented by similar businesses and offer an original twist on the idea for your client e.g. If you are consulting for a hospitality bi=usiness like a Hotel, look at what Social Media strategies have worked for the top brands.

 

5. What resources are they willing to dedicate to their ongoing Social Media activity? Do they plan on taking on a Social Media Manager?

Are they Outsourcing their Social Media activity to a freelance SMM? Do they plan on sharing the tasks amongst their existing employees or adding it to the duties of their marketing department? The Social Media Consultant will need to know this to establish how far the business will be able to go with the SM road map.

 

Social Media Consultants are now in huge demand. I personally charge $300 for half a day and $600 for a full day. Most charge between $150 - $300 per hour.

Mark Paddock

Mark Paddock

Social Media Marketing Consultant and Trainer, Get Pro Social

Mark is Social Media Manager, Consultant and Trainer with a funny accent (I'm told its funny) I like writing articles about my daily challenges & experiences as Social Media Professional. http://getprosocial.com
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Comments

James_Kiss
Posted on October 13th 2011 at 10:44AM

Thanks Mark! I really enjoy your posts as they are incredibly helpful to me. I'm slowly but surely achieving my goal of working in social media. The only thing slowing me down is fear right now but I know I'm on my way.

Posted on October 13th 2011 at 12:25PM

This article about social media consultants perfectly depicts where they usually miss the point. This talks about questions leading to understand the client's current tactics. Understanding what has been, or currently is being done in social media, is quite obvious. Likewise, understanding what competitors are doing and where they have succeed is elementary.
This approach to social media misses the point of understanding the client's fundamental business objectives and strategy. Consultants must possess the business knowledge to understand what the client is trying to achieve and the nuances of the business.

Posted on October 14th 2011 at 10:38AM

There's a hell of a lot of interesting stuff to read around social media here! Thanks for this. When you say you charge 600 dollars a day - can you give me some ideas as to what you fulfill in that day. Or perhaps a better way to ask is if you are charging 150 an hour - what exactly are you doing in that hour? monitoring what people are saying about the brand? posting for them? 

I am running the brand for a lodge - Mabula Game Lodge. I have started them off with Facebook/Twitter/Youtube.

I took a trip there to gather content that I am now using to post daily. The key is that they are gonna have to take over the work as it needs to be stuff that is happening on site as opposed to off site. What else am I missing in a Social Media portfolio or within the job description that you guys are charging for?

Thanks very much!

PamMoore
Posted on October 14th 2011 at 11:44PM

I think this is missing the most fundamental questions regarding the business of the client? A social media strategy should not be developed nor executed as a stand alone plan. Social media should support the business goals and objectives.  They should select objectives where social media can best impact the business. 

Also, if a client is new to social it is highly unlikely they will know where there customers are online or what their competitors are doing? In my book that is the job of the social media agency or consultant. If they know it, great. However, it's not a top 5 question I would ask them. I'd rather get to the meat of their business first.  

I would suggest asking such questions as "who are your audience? What pain points do they have? What information do they need? What objectives does your audience have? What objectives do you have for the audience? In what ways does your services add value to your audience and clients? How are you engaging with your audiences and clients offline? What type of conversations are happening with them online and offline? 

I do agree with the budget and resource question. Far too many businesses under estimate the resources needed to successfully execute social media. 

 

Pam 

Edwin Huertas
Posted on October 15th 2011 at 5:36PM

The sad part (for me anyway) is that many customers can't answer important questions like these. I've had clients that had absolutely no clue. What I do in those situations is take them by the hand and go through every question step by step.

But, it can be a real pain in the ass dealing with clients like this. How do you handle clients that are still in the 'Stone Age', but want to get with the program?

Mark Paddock
Posted on October 17th 2011 at 4:22PM

@James_Kiss - Feel the fear and do it anyway James :-) Thanks for the comment. I've just added another you may be interested in "9 Steps to Getting Started as a Social Media Manager" 

 

Thanks for all the comments guys! Feedback always welcome :-)

Sociallysustainable
Posted on July 12th 2012 at 10:55AM

Mark first and foremost I'd like to thank you for the information.  I have been involved in Social Media for a little over a year.  To be honest I sort of fell upon the concepts of a social media consultant, and I became my first client.  I wanted to fully understand the intricate parts of Social Media.  At first I thought it was about getting on facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and posting messages, although this is still effective. 

However, I began to understand that I needed to know who my audience was and to engage them in my product.  Therefore, I fully do agree with Pam as well.  Yes, we need to know the clients objectives, otherwise how will you as a Social Media consultant reach them for your clients.  A plan of action is just as important, developing on-line campaigns and managing a company’s on-line presence. 

I am currently working with a company now.  I have developed strategies and have asked those very important questions, which they don't know as Edwin stated. At this point I'm continuing to strategize and come up with ideas and other ways in promoting the brand and providing brand awareness. 

Please continue to post your comments as they are valuable in this field, and very informative.